Building Peace in and with Schools

Moderator: James Garbarino – Maude C. Clark Chair in Humanistic Psychology (Loyola)
Mariame Kaba – Founder and Director of Project NIA
In the last 10 years, a movement advocating and implementing restorative justice alternatives developed in Chicago Public Schools as a direct result of the growth of zero tolerance and school-to-prison pipeline tracking.  Mariame Kaba, founder & director of Project NIA, will discuss the potential of restorative justice to interrupt the school-to-prison pipeline. She will outline the strengths of such interventions while also raising some concerns about the direction of restorative justice in schools and its ability to effectively intervene in the school-to-prison pipeline. Mariame Kaba is an organizer, educator, and writer who lives in Chicago. Her work focuses on ending violence, dismantling the prison industrial complex, and supporting youth leadership development. She is the founder and director of Project NIA, a grassroots organization with a mission to end youth incarceration. Mariame has also co-founded several other organizations including the Chicago Freedom School. She is a published author and runs the blog “Prison Culture.” Mariame is a teacher and has served on numerous nonprofit boards. Most recently, she has been appointed by Governor Pat Quinn as a member of the “Commission to End Disparities Facing the African-American Community.”
David Shriberg – School of Education (Loyola)
Over the past two decades, public attention towards bullying and its harmful effects on all involved has grown considerably. Unfortunately, to date the outcome data on “anti-bullying” interventions and programs in public schools is quite weak. While there are likely many reasons for this unfortunate situation the panelist will argue that one primary factor is the lack of attention and consensus on the notion of building peaceful schools. We know that we cannot and should not “punish” our way out of bullying, but what might approaches centered on peace, wellness, and violence prevention look like? This panelist will describe a two year (and counting) collaboration between a Chicago-area junior high school and a professor and graduate students from Loyola’s school psychology program centered around supporting and empowering key stakeholders to create and measure a culturally responsive “anti-bullying/pro-wellness” school culture.
Katherine Tyson McCrea – School of Social Work (Loyola)
Choosing compassion: learning from disadvantaged African-American youth about a “home for the heart” for peace. Blessed Pope John XXIII declared that only when peace has “a home” in every person’s heart can it be accomplished (Pacem in Terris).  To nurture that goal, social service providers need clients’ perspectives about what helps them choose peace despite violent contexts.  In our after-school programs, we asked disadvantaged Black youth what they found most meaningful in their social services, and heard echoes of Pope John’s statement that seeds for peace exist in all persons:  Youth prioritized receiving compassion (from instructors and peers) and giving compassion (to peers and mentees) above all other program elements. With youth co-researchers we asked a subsample of 97 how they defined, developed, and chose compassion.  All eloquently described compassion, regarding it as a comfort for suffering and remedy for hostility.  They described how compassion generated hope and positively transformed giver and receiver, inspiring both to pass it along, through different activities and contexts. For a copy of Katherine’s PowerPoint presentation, please click HERE.